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Making Disciples III

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Many call themselves disciples of Jesus Christ, so how do we know that they are really disciples and not counterfeits, or are at best people who are well meaning, thinking that they are disciples when in fact they are not because they have been deceived?

The sign of a disciple is this:  As Jesus said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciple,” [John 8.31] to the Jews (alleged people of God) who believed Him.  A true disciple holds to the teachings of Jesus, and his holiness, that is, his separation unto Jesus, is the fervency by which he will hold to that teaching without deviation… teaching only that which Jesus has commanded, even as the disciple attempts to make other disciples.

By this definition, one can see that James the Younger in Acts 15 was not at all a disciple of Jesus.  A relative of Jesus who had began to believe in Him perhaps, because he was seeing the effect of Jesus’ ministry in Jerusalem, but a disciple?  No.  For three out of four of his recommendations go against the teachings of Jesus Himself.  Those who listen to and practise the recommendations of James, which were adapted by the Council of Jerusalem, are therefore believers at best, but not disciples of Jesus.  They are disciples of James, like the men from James whom Paul spoke of in the letter to the Galatians.

As such, if we consider ourselves to be disciples of Jesus, we should check ourselves as to what we are holding to, and if we consider ourselves disciple makers, we should examine for whom are we really making disciples for.

As for the fruit of a disciple that can be seen and appreciated by observers, Jesus said, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” [John 13.34-35]  The true fruit of a disciple is not the love of God, not the love of enemies, not the love of neighbours, but the love of fellow disciples.  If you are not fellowshipping with other disciples but are fellowshipping with believers, how then will the fruit be shown?  Indeed, the work of feeding the sheep and caring for them was given to a disciple who had no ‘agape’ to offer the Lord, only ‘phileo.’

However, how do we show ourselves to be His disciples?  That is, how do we know we are disciples even if men say that we are?  What is the sign that God gives us that we are disciples?  When whatever we wish and whatever we will is given to us. [John 15.7]  We can believe we abide in Him and claim we abide in Him and His word is abiding in us, but it is not until that which we will and wish has been given to us that we have the proof.  And the fruit that Jesus spoke of in John 15.7 which shows us to be His disciples for the Father’s glory is different not in terms of what they are, but in terms of quality.

You may be bearing the fruits of the Spirit in abundance, but we all know that the quality of a fruit is not tested until it is eaten.  Have you never bought a fruit that looks delicious only to find it tasteless?  The fruit that a disciple bears for the Father’s glory is in its quality.  As it was in the Old Covenant, the sacrifice of lambs had to be of a certain quality, not quantity.

The knowledge that you are His disciple will inspire you to bear the fruit of the quality that brings joy to the Father’s heart and a smile to His countenance.  A joy and a smile of the Father who has sons and daughters who can give Him rest from His work.  That is the fruit of Jesus’ ministry – finishing the Father’s work so that the Father can rest.  Likewise, a disciple adds to the Father’s rest and not to His work because the Father knows that His Son has disciples who are also giving the Son rest.

As for the sign of an elect of the Holy Spirit… when the Holy Spirit set aside Barnabas and Saul in Acts 13.2 from the church, He said, “Set apart… for the work to which I have called them.”  The sign of an elect of the Lord, the Holy Spirit, is that they know they are set apart for the work of the Holy Spirit.  And that work begins as an assistant to the Holy Spirit in His work, that is, to teach all things to the disciples of Jesus, to remind them of what Jesus said, to tell them what is yet to come, to tell them what the Holy Spirit has heard, to guide them into all truth, to convict the devil of his judgement, the world of sin and the disciples of righteousness, as well as to make known to them that which belongs to Jesus so that glory can be brought to Him, and to give power through and with the Holy Spirit to them to be witnesses of Jesus, be it miraculous powers, financial power, intellectual power, political power or physical power.

Elects are holy to the Holy Spirit’s work for Jesus.  And as the Spirit has said, “Come!” [Revelation 22.17] to Jesus, so an elect works to ensure that Jesus can come.  The focus of an elect is to facilitate the return of Jesus, even if we fail, we live, never to die to try again until the Lord removes us.

As for the fruit of an elect, it is the fullness of sonship or daughtership to the fullness of Christ’s stature, as a son or daughter who gives the Father rest.  So likewise, our fruit, when we bear it, is the rest we give the Holy Spirit.  Rest because the work that Jesus gave Him is finished, and the Holy Spirit, like Jesus, can say, “It is finished.” [John 19.30]

The prophet was shown that some horses going to the north gave the Spirit rest.  If horses can give the Spirit rest, then how much more we are to give the Lord, the Spirit, the rest that is long overdue?

As it is written somewhere:  We have not yet suffered to the shedding of our blood.  So be encouraged, and once more mount up on those horses that gave the Lord rest and work to give the Lord the kingdom, His kingdom, that is due to Him.

Hr. Ed Kwan, manager of the Holy Spirit’s Workshop

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NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™  Used by permission of Zondervan.  All rights reserved worldwide.


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